Saturday, June 30, 2012

John Roberts and a Vietnamese Village


No one need read the entrails of a goat to understand the decision five Supreme Court justices rendered last Thursday regarding the constitutionality of the so-called Obamacare individual mandate.

With the dust settling on that decision—the mandate is constitutional not under the Commerce Clause, but as a newly-invented “tax” within Congress’s power to impose—focus is shifting to Chief Justice John Roberts’s vote that gave the four Court liberals and President Obama the constitutional victory.

Serious people are asking why Roberts wrote so patently an indefensible opinion, distorting reality to find a tax when there is no tax.

There are some who believe that Roberts’s whole-cloth tax rationale masked the Chief Justice’s clever Machiavellian plan to prevent the Commerce Clause’s further engorgement, tilt the election toward Mitt Romney, and otherwise in some not apparent manner do damage to the Court’s enemies.

Other commentators, preeminently Charles Krauthammer, argue that Roberts—who literally sat still when Obama insulted the Court and some of its members in person in front of Congress, the American people, and the world—is still hearing echoes of Bush v. Gore.  They believe, with some justification, that the Chief Justice feared his Court would again be held in disrepute if a 5-4 conservative bloc ruled Obamacare unconstitutional.  Indeed, in the last few weeks Obama himself, some members of his administration, a few Congressmen and Senator Patrick Leahy unconscionably told the Supreme Court it better not hold the mandate, let alone the rest of Obamacare, unconstitutional.

If this is why Roberts—otherwise a card-carrying judicial conservative, and staunch supporter of judicial restraint—caved in and ruled Obamacare constitutional, he made a serious miscalculation.  His tortured majority opinion has not only sullied his own reputation.  It has confirmed the view of many that the Supreme Court is just another pragmatic political institution—to be distrusted, even scorned.

One is reminded of the perhaps apocryphal Vietnam War comment, attributed to an unnamed American officer, to the effect that “to save the village, it had to be destroyed.”

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Constitutional Law: The Final Chapter

On May 7, 2012, a few weeks after print and eBook publication of  my latest book, The American Constitution and Ayn Rand's "Inner Contradiction," I wrote the following on this blog:

The American Constitution and Ayn Rand's "Inner Contradiction" is the product of years practicing, teaching, researching, writing, cogitating, analyzing and synthesizing American constitutional law.  And spending decades applying to that subject Ayn Rand's political philosophy.  To the best of my knowledge no one else has done this in the same way I have.

Just as Erika Holzer's and my "Aid and Comfort": Jane Fonda in North Vietnam, and my first and second editions of The Supreme Court Opinions of Clarence Thomas, are unique books, so too is The American Constitution and Ayn Rand's "Inner Contradiction."

I've eschewed my regular publisher, McFarland & Co., in favor of getting this book out to the public before the November election, in the hope that it could have an impact on some voters.

. . . it is for sale on virtually every digital format in existence (for peanuts), and now there are print copies available (for peanuts, plus).

That's all I'm going to do.

(I'm taking a minute to think of a polite way to say the following.)

OK.  I've done enough.  The horses have been led to water, but I consider it unseemly for me to try to make them drink.

If members of the public consider my work valuable in the fight for freedom in America, it's up to them to use the ammunition I've provided.  Indeed, that's the least they can do.  They can spread the word . . . or not.

One easy way for like minded people to do that is by reviewing the book on Amazon.  Another is simply to tell as many people about it as possible.

I have put up.  Now it's time for others to do the same, or . . . .

The “peanuts” price for the Kindle and every other eBook edition was about $5.00 and for the print edition just under $19.00—326 pages, 104 endnotes.

The announcement went out directly to hundreds of men and women who receive this blog, as well as indirectly to countless others throughout America and even around the world.

In the announcement, I requested that those who found the book valuable spread the word, and provide reviews on Amazon.

Only two recipients of the announcement told me that they would do so.

In about the last six weeks, there has been one Amazon review (a good one, from a former student).

The number of print and eBook editions sold has been, to say the least, disappointing.

With the exception of a few “regulars,” I have received no comments about the book.

My reaction to this latest experience is the same it has been for the last 53 years, while as a lawyer, teacher and writer I engaged in my Quixotic efforts to make the case for individual rights, limited government, free markets, and national sovereignty.

Despite winning some important cases, enlightening some open-minded students, and authoring some provocative articles and books, much of my effort during that time has been wasted.  The return on my investment of time and intellectual capital has been not commensurate with my labors.  Not even close!

I didn’t really need another lesson, let alone one taught by The American Constitution and Ayn Rand's “Inner Contradiction,” but I’ve just received one.

What I’ve experienced, again, is that there is a miniscule serious audience for my ideas. Thus, I’ve finally accepted that long ago I should have abandoned the irrational, intellectually corrupt, and mostly altruist-collectivist-statist field of American constitutional law and found honest legal work elsewhere, practicing, teaching, and writing.  Perhaps in contract law which, despite some government meddling, does deal with voluntary relations between consenting adults (and entities).

While it’s too late for that now, it’s not too late for me to turn my back on constitutional law.  Starting right now, I shall no longer practice, teach, or write about that subject.  (Except to finish one nearly complete writing job for the forthcoming second edition of Erika Holzer's and my Fake Warriors: Identifying, Exposing, and Punishing Those Who Falsify Their Military Service--when the Supreme Court decides the Alvarez case by the end of this month.)

Which brings me back to the print edition of The American Constitution and Ayn Rand's "Inner Contradiction."

Ideally, as one last, doubtlessly futile, attempt to make my case about the Constitution, I wanted to give the book away.  But Amazon, understandably given its production costs, insists that the book sell for a minimum of $12.33.  So that’s what the print edition of The American Constitution and Ayn Rand's "Inner Contradiction" costs as of today. 

Maybe at that price it will be inexpensive enough to elicit the interest and consideration it deserves.

Who is John Galt?